This past weekend was full of shopping, cooking, and prepping. For many the month of December is the ‘big’ month of stocking in, etc. At my home it’s November. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I like to have everything just perfect for the entire week. Dad is here for a couple of weeks, and of course, I want to spoil him at every chance. This weekend I made another batch of apple butter, pear honey, pumpkin pie and brownies. Plus, quite a bit of prepping to make the next 3 weeks run a bit smoother. I’m hoping to get in a pot of candied apples by tomorrow evening, if all goes well.
I hadn’t run my pear honey for a few years and after making it today, I felt it was time to bring it back again. Even if you have to purchase pears at the store, they are in season, so it won’t break the bank. As you look at the recipe, I will tell you I only made a third of the recipe today (10-12 pears). Don’t forget a couple of weeks ago I included my recipe for pear crisp in the column, that would also be yummy with the pears. It’s also something a bit different.
I will mention that I probably cooked my pear honey for about 4 hours today. When you don’t use any pectin, it can take time cooking it down so it’s got a nice body. My accent ‘spice/zing’ was a bit of grated orange zest.
Pear Honey goes ‘way back’ for me. I grew up on my grandparents’ farm in rural Monticello, Missouri. Grandma Lucy always had the pear honey to eat over ice cream, biscuits and toast. Once I left home, I started adding my only little extras on this simple recipe. Fresh ginger is a nice touch; I also like to use lemon and/or orange zest for a nice undertone. You’ll find my instructions rather humorous as I talk about grinding a plateful of pear. Another tip I frequently give is to use an old-fashioned grinder for the pulp preparations. Food processors often break down the fruit too far. Cinnamon and nutmeg can be implemented, the citrus just adds a lift on the palate.
It is good to plan ahead and start on projects, but equally as important is to find time for self and preservation! Don’t bog yourselves down too much so you can’t enjoy the last few weeks of fall.
Once again, I’ve thrown in a simple sauce that’s great to share with others. I happen to have a jar of honey that needs a home! I purchased some in Arkansas a few weeks ago and it’s too strong for table consumption, guess you know what I’ll be making. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.
Grandma Lucy’s Pear Honey
Pears; cored, peeled and ground using a grinder or food processor
3 dinner plates of the ground pears
3 cans (20 oz. each), crushed pineapple, drained
4-pound bag of sugar plus 3 additional cups
(There are approx. 2 1/2 cups of sugar per pound of sugar)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
Dash or two of salt
9 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon Zest to taste
Put everything into a large stockpot and stir over medium heat until it boils gently for 20 minutes. Allow the mixture to boil down and get rid of any unwanted juice. You will find it thickens a bit more as it cools down. Pack into sterilized jars and seal with a boiling water bath. Yields approximately 12 pints.
3 cans (14-16 oz.) whole cranberry sauce
1 (12 oz.) jar orange marmalade
1 (8-12 0z.) jar fresh honey
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat to a gentle boil on the stove. Medium heat is suggested. Prepare clean canning jars, flats and rings. Pack product into sterilized jars and seal with a boiling water bath. Consult canning guidelines for a bigger break down on preserving steps. Yields approximately 7-8 cups of product.